Skip to main content
BlogNew Organizing Project (NOP)

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! …. It’s Ajumma?!

By August 3, 2011No Comments

By Josh Joh-Jung
New Organizing Project blogger


Okay, if ya’ll didn’t come down to Chicago and see Coffeehouse 2011, ya’ll missed out and now we can never be friends. JK LOL Naw, but seriously you did miss out on an awesome night. We had singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, instruments, the whole 9 yards son! So for those of you who did come,  I hope you enjoyed the show and come next year. For ya’ll who didn’t come at all, I better see ya’ll’s faces next year. LOL

Photo credit: Kim Han Joon, KRCC

All the proceeds went to the DREAM scholarship, this year we awarded the scholarship to former NOP blogger Kim Hyejoo, and Tuvshin Dorjpurev – so please give em a nice round of applause and congratulations 😀

What’s on the docket today Josh?

So now its been a while like always since I’ve had my last blog. But yo boy is up in Seattle, so if you nearby holla at your boy and maybe we can kick it. Hmmm what to talk about now?  What shall I serve you? The debt ceiling? Bruce Lee movies? China’s new aircraft carrier? The heat wave that’s been sweeping the nation and is evidence that the 2012 apocalypse is approaching? How about we talk about the phenomenon of the ajumma.

So for ya’ll non-Koreans reading, there are three types of people in Korea – man, woman, and ajumma. The ajumma is a specimen of extraterrestrial, supernatural, superhuman hailing from Korea. There is a rumor that if there was a nuclear apocalypse, the only organisms left in this world would be roaches and ajumma.  The ajumma is surprisingly fit despite her age and unassuming figure – capable of running at amazing speeds when the need arises (mostly sales and subway seats). All jokes aside, let’s get real about ajumma.

Photo credit:

The common definition for an Ajumma is a middle aged or married Korean woman who has or had children. It’s really up for debate what qualifies as one of these special women but the typical image is hair perm, short, stocky, wears goofy sunglasses, an unwavering tough personality, well networked with other ajummas across the country, and so down to earth that they would put ‘Man versus Wild’ to shame. It’s not really a noun but a definition of a lifestyle.

So for the ajumma reading who were offended by my jokes earlier, forgive me, I got them jokes online. But hear me out, I want to say thank you so much for everything you do from the bottom of my heart.

Josh, why are you thanking ajummas? *SMACK Because they are the keystone to our culture and our community. O_o say what? You don’t believe me? Well, let the lesson begin….

Take a trip down memory lane, who was the most social? Who is in the know the majority of the time? Who cooks all that wonderful food after the church service? The ones who pooled the money together to help the other families get a business started? Made sure that the Korean bbq or festival was with food and entertainment? I’ll tell you who, it’s the ajumma.

Look back at many of today’s Korean American organizations, many of them were started by ajummas who wanted a place other than the Korean church (which is another topic, religion in the Korean community) to organize and create a better place for their children.  And even more so, who is the link to our culture? The person we can always turn to for cultural guidance? Our ajummas have taught us the roots of our culture – language, respect, compassion, etc. They are the shining example of what it means to be a Korean.

Looking back at my childhood days, ajummas were the ones who pretty much did most of the organizing at church, in the community, etc. but why is that? Why does the ajumma do this? That can only be answered by an ajumma, so go out there and find the ajumma and ask her.

So today’s blog aint really an information filled blog but one to make you look back at the women who raised you and are the foundation of our community. Thank you Ajummas.